The phone can’t see what’s really real

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Mount StuartThe month wore on. Though it was cool at night I left the windows open to hear the rain slap the patio. The light was different now, and struggled to make it over the trees. The grass had gone to moss with the scant mushroom popping up, autumn’s blooms. They were just putting out Christmas stuff but it was hardly even Halloween.

I made it to the mountains for a night but got caught in a storm and had to hold my tent down with both arms, didn’t really sleep. In the morning I woke to crows and fog but no rain, so I moved quickly to break camp and head out. The moon was full when it rose in the dusk and passed through the clouds like a coin through a slot. I gathered water from a stream but it tasted bad so I washed it down with whiskey and brushed my teeth, spit the paste on a rock. At some alien time the tent tore out of the ground and the poles twisted and the hand of god pressed down on me with wind followed by rain and then rain followed by wind, and finally just rain.

I followed the same trail out, remembering the last time I’d come here with Lily, those three or four spots she’d struggled with the exposure. I thought it would be confidence building for her but didn’t realize she was developing an anxiety that had only grown worse with age. I tried to shake it out of her but didn’t know much about anything, then.

At times they seemed so fragile but unnecessarily so, our kids. Scared to be without the sound of something playing from a device in their room at night. Uneasy with the thought of silence, to be left alone with their own thoughts, untethered. As if their thoughts would drift to dark, worrisome topics…as if they themselves weren’t enough, themselves. How much I just wanted to drag them outdoors and free them, to teach them self-reliance. To listen for water coming from a stream, and collect and filter it. Or tie down a tent. But they weren’t interested, and that window had closed.

The dog sniffed at the seam on the door outside and grunted. When I picked Lily up and drove her home I commented on the sky with the sun setting and said look, how pretty that is…and she tried to get it with her phone, but of course she couldn’t.

Categories: Memoir, parenting, writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. How can I help you 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


  2. It’s a touching sentiment from the comment above me, but I wouldn’t engage. Me, on the other hand, how can I help you?
    Moon through a slot. That’s a choice image right there.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The light struggling to make it over the trees, the moon slotted in the clouds – – great stuff. In the photo it looks to be a windswept place alright, the rocks look like turtle backs, kinda eerie place, crows and fog – – so, natural to feel a bit ill-at-ease, melancholy in such a place? Unless you’re filming King Lear on the heath or something. A compelling entry, I can see the figure fighting to keep the tent from blowing away, and then flattened by wind and rain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha ha, the King Lear on a heath is good, Robert. That’s one of my two favorite places there in our area to camp, about 6,400’ alpine lake area. They do look like turtle backs! I was thinking giant’s knuckles bared. Would like your company and camera eye up there some time, it’s a gem of a place. Only the second time I’ve been screwed by Mother Nature there, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful, and I love that pic, which might have been taken with a phone. If that’s the spot where the wind and the rain got to you, it was worth the getting there I’d say.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What we want for, hope for our children. Yet they insist on becoming themselves, with different yet somehow familiar soft spots.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well that was pretty good, right there. Kind of whallumped me with despair towards the end, but I kind of like it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed the read. I had just been commenting about this very subject in regards to our children. I wonder one day how they will perceive being taken on that camping trip when they are adults?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. as my daughters have, she may look back at it one day and see it differently

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No meaningless fluff here. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if we’d have had kids, but this sort of thing gives me pause.

    But who knows? Maybe that window is just waiting for a different house.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wonderful post, and so bloody timely. I remain baffled as to how to culture of media just disintegrated over the past half-dozen years. Just astounded by the materialism and grasping towards being seen, rather than doing. The importance of being recognized as X or Y, versus actually accomplishing X or Y. Food blogging or travel blogging seems to have taken the greatest hit. People clamoring for images and lay waste to the environment just for a cute picture while offering no actual substance. Boggles the old noggin’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, hi Nicholas…really nice to hear from you. I hope you’re feeling good about your go as a travel blogger. I can definitely relate to your POV too; so much more about putting on appearances. We can cut through the morass. Does boggle the noggin’, though. My kids baffle me every day, the content they consume. Or vice versa, ha…bye for now; thanks for dropping in. Bill


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